UPDATED: Last week, I told you about two big films being shopped: the Taylor Lautner-attached spec Abducted, and the Steven Soderbergh-directed Contagion. Both are still in the marketplace.
— On the Lautner front, a deal for Shawn Christensen’s spec script hasn’t been wrapped up yet, but I hear that’s because the buyers and sellers took a President Weekend break. As of today, the bidding is back on. Sure, the Lautner camp has been steadfast on getting at least the $7.5 million quote established by Skydance for Northern Lights. I’m told Sony Pictures’ Columbia is in the mix (though the studio is out of development money through the first quarter of 2010 and is looking for creative ways around that dilemma). I also hear that Lionsgate, and Universal are still in it (after DreamWorks passed last week), with the latter trying to get Relativity Media to co-finance. Granted, the executives are grumbling about how it’s a lot of money for an 18-year old who hasn’t yet proven he can carry a film by himself, yet is on a salary trajectory rarely seen especially for someone so young. But the studios are still in hot pursuit.
— On the Soderbergh front, I hear that Gwyneth Paltrow now is joining his cast that already includes Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard and Jude Law. The Scott Z. Burns-scripted film — about the attempt to contain a deadly viral outbreak — came with Participant Media ready to co-finance. Contagion carries a $60 million budget, and I’m told several bidders have offered greenlight commitments.